India, the country of rich heritage and culture, is also famous for its vast collection of plants and wildlife.
When we talk about wildlife, India is home to several species of animals and birds. India owns 12 % of the total global species of birds and 7-8% of the wildlife species. But the growing population and advent of modern human activities have devasted this rich collection of India. Hundreds of species have been extinct, and many species are still endangered.
It becomes essential to take steps forward to protect our valuable flora and fauna in such critical conditions. The government of India has set up 566 wildlife sanctuaries, 103 national parks and 72 bird sanctuaries in this direction. One of such bird sanctuaries is the Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary.
Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary is located in the Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated at Mankapur-Nawabganj Road and Mankapur-Faizabad Railway line. The nearest town to the sanctuary is Wajeerganj, at 12 km.
It is the home of several species of resident birds throughout the year. During winter, the location turns into a special shelter for migratory birds.
The place Parvati Arga was declared as a bird sanctuary by the government of India on 23 May 1990. The declaration was made by Notification number 1021/14-3-14/90.
Before being declared a bird sanctuary, the fisheries department managed the area.
Later on, in March 2021, the Union Ministry included Parvati Arga under the Ramsar Convention list. A Ramsar Site is a wetland site that has been circled under national and global concern for protection. Currently, in India, there are 42 Ramsar Sites.
Parvati Arga is classified as a Ramsar wetland. The location owns site number 2416 and is spread to 722 ha.
The wetland is a permanent freshwater environment that consists of two oxbow lakes. The location has never noted a drying or running water shortage in history. In fact, the depth of these lakes is around 20 meters.
The wetlands are a special habitat for waterbirds, both local and migratory.
Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary is a combination of two lakes. These lakes are never seen dried in history. Even at someplace, the lake’s depth is more than 20 meters. The latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates are 26掳56’N 82掳09’E.
Like other parts of Gangetic plans, the wetland climate is moderate throughout the year. The wetland receives an average of 1700 mm of rainfall during rainy months from July to September. The area experience humid summer months in May and June, when the temperature rises to 45 degree Celsius. But the weather in winter is excellent and pleasant. It goes down to 30 degrees Celsius in December and January. The average altitude of the land is 135 meters above sea level.
Ramsar wetland Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary covers an area of about 10.84 square kilometers. It contains two oxbow lakes, Parvati and Arga.
An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake or pool. It is formed when a wide meander of a river passes, creating a free-standing water body. Sometimes, it gets cut by the mainstream, while sometimes it doesn’t.
Parvati and Arga are cut off lakes and are rain-fed in nature. The lakes are formed in a deep natural depression in the Gangetic plains of the terai region.
The water level in the lakes is generally maintained by rain. Therefore, the wetland is categorized as permanent freshwater lakes.
The monsoon season brings the water to the lakes, which lasts forever. The water here is similar to water present in the other water bodies of the Gangetic plain, not as saline or acidic.
The wetland is part of Upper Gangetic Plains’ moist deciduous forests. Around 136 flora has been identified around the area. Out of these 136, 33 are the Terrestrial plants, 40 are the Grasses, 28 are the Hydrophytes, 2 are classified as Peridophyta and the rest as Phytoplankton.
The region Parvati Arga wetland is famous for its avifauna collection. It is home to both indigenous and foreign species of birds.
In winter, it is home to different birds’ different Siberian, Tibetan, Chinese, and European species. Some of these birds fly above 8500 km to reach here. Around 153 avifauna species belonging to 33 families can be found here.
The famous migratory birds of the wetland are Borheaded goose, Greylag Goose, Common Coot, Pintail, Ferruginoons, Red Crested Poacherd, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwal, Shoveler, and Tufted Poachard.
Meawhile, the common resident and local birds found in the lake are Indian Peafowl, Little Cormorant, Darter, Whistling Winged Stift, Black-headed Ibis, Bronze Winged Jacana, Pheasant Tailed Jacana, Purple Swamphen, Asian Openbill, and Black drongo.
The wetland is surrounded by religious temples, poultry farms, and markets. Tikari forest reserves are also located nearby the lake.
Parvati lake is spread in four villages Hariharpur, Chandapur, Bahadura, and Kotha, while Arga is spread around Tikharia, Laksmanpur, Gauria and Madhavpur.
The wetland is a potential ecotourism site. It is an excellent asset to the ecology, providing a conservation refuge to the endangered avifauna species. It creates awareness among students and the public for preserving the ecosystem.
Also, in terms of tourism, the wetland attracts a huge number of travelers and explorers. The key attraction of the place is bird watching, boating and trekking.
Deterioration of the Wetland
Though valuable, the Parvati Arga wetland is still losing its value day by day. Human activities such as overpopulation, overgrazing, deforestation, and rapid urbanization is causing danger to the wetland.
Also, global warming and pollution have been identified to have harmful and dangerous effects on the wetland. The continuous climate change can also affect the water levels of the wetland. These causes, directly or indirectly, can worsen the lives of flora and fauna surviving in the wetland.
Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary is a refuge for more than 10,000 birds and serves as breeding centers. Hence, efforts must be taken at the individual and organizational level to protect this hub of avifauna.
- The area’s local residents should take proper care of the place as their duty. And should not pollute or violate the dignity of the wetland.
- The government should also take required efforts and limit human intervention around the wetland.
At last, not only this site but the entire Earth need our concern and measures towards its protection. Individuals should guard their steps and protect life and Earth.